Fair Isle sweaters

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by GateXC, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. GateXC

    GateXC One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Manhattan
    I've been watching quite a bit of the "Wooster & Jeeves" series and decided I need to get my hands on some Fair Isle sweaters/vests. I hunted around the internet/ebay and nothing really caught my eye as being vintage looking enough. Any suggestions in this area would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    ...these 2 were eBay ones-


    [​IMG][​IMG]

    They're a mainly British style, so you probably need to look on eBay.co.uk

    B
    T
     
  3. Marty M.

    Marty M. Vendor

    Messages:
    1,195
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Bertie Wooster rules.

    GateXC,
    I haven't seen any Fair Isle sweaters/vests in a while. "Pringle of Scotland" made classic Fair Isle products. Try interneting them. I'd be interested in knowing what you find out. I'm going to market in a couple of weeks, I'll keep my eyes open for you.

    Marty
     
  4. nightandthecity

    nightandthecity Practically Family

    Messages:
    902
    Location:
    1938
    There's usually a few on ebay UK. I'll be listing three myself in the next few days.
     
  5. Hemingway Jones

    Hemingway Jones I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Messages:
    6,098
    Location:
    Acton, Massachusetts
    Those vests look very nice. I just bought a v-neck sweater from J. Crew in their sales department for $19.00. I bought it because it looked like the sweater that Leo DiCaprio was wearing as Howard Hughes in the beginning of "The Aviator" and I wanted to wear it the same way: with a white shirt and tie, and a flight jacket over it.

    The Fair Isle look is very nice.
     
  6. flat-top

    flat-top My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,772
    Location:
    Palookaville, NY
    Years ago, I used to work at Aeropostale, (before they went hip-hop), and they had a whole line of Fairisle sweaters and vests which I own, and pulled out of the archives after seeing The Aviator. Maybe you could search under "Aeropostale" on Ebay, since I'm sure many sellers have no idea what Fairisle is!
    flat-top
     
  7. Alan Eardley

    Alan Eardley One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,500
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Fair Isle

    Guys, please, please, please,

    Fair Isle is a style of knitting that is indigenous to the Shetland island of that name. Like Harris, Arran and Donegal, the style can be imitated but never recreated elsewhere. Fair Isle knitting is done in cottages from local materials. The craft is handed down through generations of the same family. Companies like Aeropostale cannot by definition make Fair Isle garments.

    Sorry to be pedantic, but this matters, as the jobs of local craftsmen and women depend on making and selling these local garments.
     
  8. flat-top

    flat-top My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,772
    Location:
    Palookaville, NY
    I didn't know that, so then they were look- alikes. They were also listed on all the store paperwork and such as Fair Isle!!
     
  9. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    We'll have none of that heeeere!

    Local Garments for Local people...!

    Unfortunately the name has become a generic fancy-knit tank top descriptive.
    Mine say Shetland on them-

    B
    T
     
  10. Alan Eardley

    Alan Eardley One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,500
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Fair Isle

    BT,

    As I suspect you know the style of knitting was once common to the Shetland Isles in general, but a particular pattern (reckoned by officianados to be the best) was local to Fair Isle.

    Your garment is therefore correct to call itself Shetland as it was presumably not knitted on Fair Isle.

    As you say, the term is misused. This may seem pedantic, but if someone referred to a hat made by the Cheung Shin Hat Co of Shanghai as an American Stetson on this forum, I feel it would quickly attract comment.
     
  11. GateXC

    GateXC One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Manhattan
    Thanks for the tips guys. I had forgotten about checking UK ebay, but that will be remedied in the future.

    BT those are a great pair of sweater vests. Well done on the find.
     
  12. Nick Charles

    Nick Charles Practically Family

    Messages:
    988
    Location:
    Sunny Phoenix
  13. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    They're referred to in the vernacular, as 'Tank tops'.

    B
    T
     
  14. GateXC

    GateXC One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Manhattan
    While that might be the case, I don't know if I can bring myself to refer to a very nice article of clothing by that moniker. Too many bad connotations/images of sweaty B&Ters taking over my island (Manhattan) on the weekends.
     
  15. nightandthecity

    nightandthecity Practically Family

    Messages:
    902
    Location:
    1938
    I think the "tank top" moniker came in during the seventies. There was a big revival of the sleeveless pully back then.

    Alan is right, the true Fair Isle has to come from Fair Isle, and it isn't neccessarily sleeveless either. But sleeveless tops with patterns similar to Fair Isle have been called Fair Isles since the 1930s and it's a well established useage. Which doesn't make it right of course, but like a lot of well established things that aren't right it's difficult to not go along with it to some extent!

    Two points worth making: in my experience most mid-20th century "Fair Isles" were handknitted rather than store bought.

    Also many sleeveless tops were patterned other than FI. Many were plain. And many were "Argyles" - a totally different pattern to FI. These were considered a bit more upmarket. I can't remember what Bertie was wearing in the TV series - years since I saw it - but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was an Argyle not an FI. I'll try and post a pic of an Argyle if I get a spare moment. Patterns are diamond shaped, like Argyle socks.
     
  16. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    The Argyle IS the 'diamonds' pattern- more Golf-ish.

    B
    T
     
  17. Alan Eardley

    Alan Eardley One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,500
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Argyll

    In the most famous Bertie Wooster series on UK TV the actor (Ian Carmichael?) who played him most frequently wore Argyll pattern sleeveless pullovers. I don't know about any other series.

    They were never, ever called 'sweater vests' in their native country and could not have been called 'tank tops' until the 1970s.
     
  18. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    Vests..?
    The term 'Tank top' was something I learned whilst living in London- that's what people call them apparently...

    B
    T
     
  19. Wasn't Bertie Wooster played by Hugh Laurie? Stephen Fry as a perfect Jeeves ...

    I grew up calling them tank tops. Have no idea on the origins of the term ...

    bk
     
  20. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    It make sense to me that it's a '70s term- harking back to the Tanks of WW2 and the attire of the crew..? I only arrived in London in the '90s, so I don'?ɬ?t know the history.

    Distionary.com says:

    -A sleeveless, tight-fitting, usually knit shirt with wide shoulder straps and no front opening...

    and...

    -A tight-fitting sleeveless shirt with wide shoulder straps and low neck and no front opening; often worn over a shirt or blouse.

    But singlets/(athletic)vests/Wifebeaters(unfortunate) also seem to get this tag.

    B
    T
     

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